Terrorist convicted of horror bomb plot has been working at Asda after leaving prison early

Terrorist convicted Qaisar Shaffi of a bomb plot to kill thousands in the UK and US has been working at Asda after leaving prison early

The Sun Newspaper
By Julia Atherley

A TERRORIST convicted of a bomb plot to kill thousands in the UK and US has been working at Asda after leaving prison early.

Qaisar Shaffi travelled to New York to scope targets just months before the 9/11 atrocity led by Osama bin Laden in 2001.

His cell was also said to have been targeting buildings and transport networks in Britain.

Shaffi, 45, got 15 years in 2007 for conspiracy to murder.

He is believed to have been freed halfway through his sentence and joined Asda in 2015 while on licence.

According to a LinkedIn profile in Shaffi’s name, he worked his way up to become operations manager of a ­Watford superstore.

An accompanying picture on the networking site shows a worker wearing a green Asda lanyard.

Shaffi later moved to Harrow, North West London, as a manager before leaving last month.

A source said: “It was all very sudden.

“One minute he was store manager and then he had gone.

“It’s not even clear if he was sacked or resigned.

“I heard staff talking about him being a terrorist but don’t know when or how that came out.

“Apparently an issue came to light when a store application for an alcohol licence was submitted using his name.”

Bizarrely his past emerged at an employment tribunal last year.

An Asda colleague sacked for inappropriate conduct was suing for unfair dismissal.

He pointed out Shaffi had not been sacked even though he had a terror conviction.

The tribunal concluded: “We are satisfied the respondent (Asda) knew of Mr Shaffi’s background and considered him a suitable person to be taken on.

“He was not considered a threat and those were the reasons why he remains in the respondent’s employment.”

Asda’s website states that the chain no longer routinely asks applicants to disclose whether they hold an unspent conviction for the majority of jobs.

Some positions need a DBS check to confirm a candidate’s “suitability for a role”.

Early release of dangerous prisoners was questioned after the London Bridge attack in 2019 when Usman Khan murdered two people while out of jail on licence for terrorism.

Automatic release halfway through a sentence is now blocked.

Shaffi’s offending and subsequent release took place before that change came in.

Former Met Police detective Peter Bleksley said of Shaffi: “This is very worrying.

“Customers would find this shocking.”

Shaffi was a high-risk Category A prisoner at Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire.

He was working in a phone shop when he was recruited by Islamic extremist Dhiren Barot, who is serving a minimum 30 years for conspiracy to murder.

Brendan Cox, whose MP wife Jo was murdered in 2016, said: “Releasing terror suspects early should only happen if authorities are totally confident they no longer pose a risk.”

Tory MP Nigel Mills added: “We have to hope he is a completely reformed character and he really is no threat.

“There would be far less risky jobs for people who have been released early from prison.”

Asda said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.”